9WAYS IMMUNE YOU BOOST YOUR SYSTEM
Try these tips to keep your immune system in peak condition this winter.
Choose healthy fermented foods
Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotic-rich yoghurt contain bacteria and yeasts to help reduce inflammation and boost gut bacteria growth.
Start with 1–2 tablespoons daily and gradually increase. Turn to page 63 for tasty meal ideas using fermented foods.
Drink coffee wisely
Coffee contains caffeine, which changes the balance of bacteria in your gut. Coffee contains naturally occurring soluble fibre and phenolic compounds that are food for gut bacteria. But don’t overdo it, and drink plenty of water and herbal teas.
Stress influences your gut bacteria, and the growth of certain types of bacteria has been linked to a higher risk of anxiety and depression. Managing your stress can be one step towards improving your gut health and immunity.
Although no studies have yet looked at the impact of stress management on changes in gut bacteria growth, yoga has been found to be as effective as a low-FODMAP diet in managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Mind the fat
A high-fat, Western-style diet of takeaway, fried food and pastries reduces a bacterium which plays a big part in lowering inflammation by making changes to immune cells. So choose healthier fats, like avocado, nuts, extra-virgin olive oil and oily fish.
Fibre is your gut’s favourite food, so load up on veg, fruit & nuts
Go for oily fish
Regular omega-3 fats from oily fish, like salmon, are great for your gut bacteria. Omega3 from fish oils act as an antiinflammatory to help prevent heart disease and ease the pain of arthritis.
It now appears that omega3s also work to reduce inflammation in the gut by encouraging or discouraging the growth of certain bacteria.
Avoid artificial sweeteners
Many ‘diet’ and ‘sugar-free’ products have artificial sweeteners, such as mannitol and sorbitol, which are known to change gut bacteria.
In fact, if you have IBS and are also following a lowFODMAP diet, these sweeteners can cause bloating and other gut symptoms.
Cut back on alcohol
Alcohol can increase the growth of certain bacteria that may cause increases in bacterial toxins inside your gut. Alcohol can also increase inflammation. Spirits may do more gut damage than wine or beer, and the amount and frequency of alcohol intake definitely plays a part in the level of gut damage. You should aim for no more than two standard drinks a day.
Eat more fibre
Fibre is your gut’s favourite food, so try to increase your intake of fruit, vegies, nuts and whole grains. Much of the fibre is found in the skin of fruit and vegetables, so leave the skin on wherever possible. Legumes, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils, are another good source of fibre for your gut.
The bacteria in your gut digest fibres to produce shortchain fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and protect against colon cancer.
Subtract some additives
Emulsifiers are additives mainly mixed with liquids that would not bond naturally — such as salad dressings or mayonnaise — to stabilise them. Sometimes chemicals are used as emulsifiers, and there is some evidence that these types of emulsifiers can cause gaps in the gut lining.
Choose whole foods and try to avoid packet foods as much as possible to help to reduce your intake of emulsifiers.